The boys tennis team at Elgin High School survived one storm surge this week but Saturday, the Storm surge that was South Elgin was just unavoidable.
A creek less than 30 yards away helped flood Elgin’s courts after the midweek rains. But the Maroons were out early Saturday morning with roll driers frantically getting their courts ready after the water receded.
Elgin got the courts ready in time, but it set the stage for South Elgin to win an Elgin-themed quad with 13 victories in total. Host Elgin compiled 11, Larkin came in third with and Elgin Academy came away with a single victory.
But all wasn’t lost for Elgin, as No. 1 singles player Reza Khan (9-3) took home a first-place medal with a 3-0 day, beating South Elgin’s Teddy Lazopoulos in the last match of the afternoon.
In a feature of contrasting styles Lazopoulos, who has been playing up from No. 2 singles since last week, won the first set 6-1 by capitalizing on Khan’s aggressiveness and baseline shots. But then Khan cruised to back-to-back 6-1 victories by making it more of a net game, which took Lazopoulos out of his element.
“He was a really good ballplayer, I really had to make some adjustments in the second and third sets,” said Khan, who focused on keeping his weight forward, getting tight and letting the ball come to him. “I was trying to outhit him in the baseline and it was more of a net game so I was trying to bring him to the net, just playing out from there.”
Lazopoulos added: “(Khan) was much more aggressive, he wanted to come up more to the net a lot more, and I think that really helped him.”
The South Elgin senior went 3-1 last week as a No. 1 singles and finished 2-1 on Saturday and things are looking bright after dedicating summer to camps to improve his game. “My ground stroke was good and my forehand approach shot was pretty good, especially in the second match,” he said.
The Maroons’ No. 1 doubles brothers tandem of Eric and Andy Chai were on a collision course with South Elgin’s Randy Felker and Signory Somsavath, after both squads beat doubles squads from Larkin and Elgin Academy.
With first place doubles on the line, Felker and Somsavath found trouble down 6-5 in the first set, but managed to steal the next 2 points and then with all the momentum, took the second set 6-3. And they did so with discipline, getting first serves in the second set, poaching and attacking the net while the Chais took more chances on volleys.
“I think there was a big difference there,” said Felker. “Winning the first set was a big deal for us, the tiebreaker. That gave us a big momentum changer.”
This was the first time the Chais played in doubles competition and although they went 2-1, they will need more time to jell.
“It was more of a lack of trust because after I went for a few shots and he missed a few, I let my anger overcome what I was trying to accomplish,” said Eric Chai. “We never played doubles before — this is our first time — and in (the last set) errors happened and sparked a whole mess.”
Larkin’s Javier Hernandez went 2-1 in his matches. He lost the first match to South Elgin’s Jesse Benbrook but then rallied to win sets over Elgin’s John Hoskins 6-4, 7-5 and Elgin Academy’s Frankie Bisconti 6-1, 6-0, while getting a little bit of redemption in the process after losing to Elgin earlier this season.
“I thought returning and setting up my body really helped me,” said Hernandez. “I was also trying out a new serve that I have.”
Elgin Academy’s Tano Xayasarn and Julian Romano snagged the lone victory for the Hilltoppers, as they defeated Larkin’s Freddy Alvarez and Luc Flores in a No. 2 doubles match, 6-3, 6-4.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.